Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tutorial Eight: Assistive Technology

Hello everyone!!

This time I'm writing to you all about Assistive Technologies.
First off, what IS assistive technology, you may ask? Well, good question!! I found the answer for you (Thank goodness for google, right!!) 
"Assistive Technology for kids with learning disorders is defined as any device, piece of equipment or system that helps bypass, work around or compensate for an individual's specific learning deficits" (Great Schools. Involved Parents. Successful Kids, 2010, para 4). So, according to this it can be anything, right!?! YES! So basically assistive devices can be anything from a computer key board to a light switch! It sounds much more complicated that what it really is. Basically it is anything made simpler to help a child achieve his/her goals and compensates for those problem areas.

Right, so we had Trev come speak to us from STAR mobility and Disability Center. He showed us a heap of toys and fun. Here's a link if you want to go have a look at the things they sell: 

The one item that stood out to me most was the iTalk2. I had seen it before, but somehow I was only just able to fully appreciate what it is used for and all the benefits it holds for both the client and the therapist.

Here's a picture so you can see what I'm talking about:

So, I thought this was quite a neat toy! :) Turns out, it is so much more than a toy!
Have a look:

This dual-message communicator allows students the freedom of their own choice regardless of whether they are verbal or non-verbal communicators. They can choose between two options, whether it is food or activity types. With 2 minutes of recording time, the possibilities are endless. It also has dual appliance jacks so that you can easily pair communication with a fun activity. The device sits on an angle to allow for easier access for the individuals with limited hand function or hand eye co-ordination. “Using the iTalk2 Communicator will provide opportunities for students to experience the advantage of two-message communication. They now can be engaged in learning communication skills by commenting, making choices and telling jokes. Students will gain the experience of using new language in a variety of environments” (Enablemart, n.d. para 2). It is essential to recognise the importance of providing communication opportunities to everyone so that all students may have the chance to learn the power of communication.

Its quite neat isn't it?! So I saw it used on placement where the child was asked what she wanted to eat. It was amazing because it showed that she understood the question. And she understood the relevance of her answer!!

Alright so this isn't the best video, but surprisingly enough, there aren't many on YouTube!! So this one shows how the voice has been recorded, and when he presses the button, he get the response he asked for by pressing the button. She the first few times he pressed the yellow button, it meant "bubbles". Then when he started pressing the red one, he got give the ball. See how it works? Yes, it's quite neat :)

Anyway, so there are two concepts that I think fits in really well with this tool. And they are occupational deprivation and occupational transition.
Firstly, Occupational Deprivation - So I feel that sometimes (and I've seen this in placement) that when there is a non-verbal child, he/she gets treated completely different to all the other children, they also don't get heard (obviously) but what I'm trying to get at is that we often overlook those who are non-verbal. We like it that way, less complaining!! But is that right? We're taking away from their quality of life then, aren't we? So they are being deprived of the childhood they deserve. Okay, so they're seen as 'disabled' or 'not normal' - whatever that means but they need to be given the opportunity to live and learn the way that all the rest of us do!! So this tool gives us as OT's the ability to present them with this opportunity to speak!! To raise their voice! To give their opinion and be heard! Isn't that amazing!?? That's awesome, I reckon.

The second one is Occupational transition.
Now, I've mentioned that this is a good tool to use to allow them to be heard. But what of their needs, their wishes and goals? Have you ever considered how frustrating it would be to have no cognitive disabilities but you cannot verbalize anything!?!? Have you!? I cant imagine what I would do! So here's to community reintegration! This is one step closer to their participation in society! If only we'd let them tell us what they want to do, we can allow them to participate in those activities. Things that might never have been an option. But now it can be! This is exciting stuff!!

But I better leave you there, otherwise I'll rant on forever and break my key board.

Right, hope you find this all very exciting! It was exciting learning about it all. Can't wait to get working!!

Have a good one!


Enablemart. Your #1 Source for Assistive Technology. (n.d.). iTalk2 communicator. Retrieved fom 

Liberator (n.d.). italk2 communicator. Retrieved from

Great Schools. Involved Parents. Successful Kids. (2010). Assistive technology for kids with ld: And overview. Retrieved from

Tutorial Six: The Internet and Online Communities

Hello again!!

Alright, so the instructions were to find three online communities in relation to our fieldwork experience. 
Mine was around older folks and equipment. So here is the mission: to find three online communities that relate to that... mhhhh

Well, here goes:  

Arthritis New Zealand

This is a website for those people who want to find out more about arthritis and see what kind of supports there are available to them. So it explains what arthritis is and goes into the different types of arthritis. It also has a section that talks about children with arthritis.
If you follow the link above, it will take you to where you find out about arthritis, what it is and what the different types are. 
It is a very interactive and easy to use site. All the information is clearly set out, and easy to understand.

Follow this link:
Here they provide us with a whole lot of information around events that are due to take place all over the country. What's good is that this service is not based in one city in NZ only, it is all across the country which makes for easy access to this service.

If you choose to, you can donate to this service. Once you become a donor you start receiving their newsletters with updates on all that is happening. 
I suppose the reason people contribute to communities such as these, and not just in a financial way, but also in a social way, is because they want to be part of a group that is known to help out where it is needed. They might also contribute to this service quite simply because they need help, and this might be the best place for them to be receiving help.

Arthritis affects many different people with different leisure activities. I guess that part of the goal of this website/online community is to aid those who are experiencing occupational deprivation due to their illness. Having this support group around could really encourage one to participate as close to previous level of function.

This site will also then be able to take you further to other sites that could also be of benefit to you.


Enliven's focus on providing a "high quality residential and home based services with a focus on supporting older people to do more of what they want to do, rather than focusing care around what they can't do" (Enliven, n.d., para. 1).
Enliven (n.d.). About us. Retrieved from

People are able to ask questions, look at frequently asked questions, they get to donate, or ask for help. This is a very interactive website and very easy to use and follow. 

Enliven are seeking to provide exceptional service to those in a home or residential area. Clients can be comforted by the idea that they have someone who will look after them and help them to reach their desired level of function by supporting and encouraging them all the way through.

This site is good for those experiencing occupational deprivation as they go out with clients and enable them to participate in those activities that they were not able to participate in previously for whatever reason, whether it is that they didn't have support... Another concept is occupational transition. People might get referred here after a stay in the hospital and need help transitioning back into the community and normal routine.
Ethical considerations would include culture. Some cultures expect to be looked after at an old age. Other expect to bounce back and work towards getting fit again. It all depends on culture.


"Enable New Zealand contributes to the reduction of barriers for independent living and participation for disabled people through the provision of specialised equipment, housing modifications and vehicle purchase and modifications" (Enable New Zealand, n.d. para. 1).

Enable New Zealand. (n.d.). Equipment and modifications services. Retrieved from

As stated in the quote above, Enable work to provide suitable equipment to improve independence.
This website is very easy to use and is very interactive. One is able to ask questions, give feedback as well as get information around the equipment that they supply.
People come to this website to find help. They know they need something, but not sure what it is they need. Then Enable is able to support and encourage them through the choosing process. 

 Two of the main concepts covered by Enable would be Occupational transition as their aim is to support a client as they reintegrate into a barrier free society. It also touches on occupational deprivation. Clients are unable to complete tasks they used to enjoy due to barriers. That's when Enable comes in and fixes it!!
 Some cultures refuse outside help. That needs to be respected, if that is their wish.


Tutorial Five: Video Production Sessions

Right, hello everyone! Here we go again.

So in this post we're going to look at some videos that relate back to my previous fieldwork experiences.
In my first year of Occupational Therapy training, I was placed in an Older Persons and Rehabilitation Center where we came across many hip joint replacements, knee replacements, car accidents which cause other broken bones, and a whole heap of other things. But what I found most interesting was learning about all the different equipment that OT's can issue out to clients to make things easier for them. So here are a few videos to show you the kind of things I've seen and worked with.

So there you have the first one.  Isn't that interesting!?! I just thought it was really neat the different things that people come up with these days! So this would be very useful for someone who has recently had a total hip joint replacement. There are some precautions to take after the surgery, and the biggest one is to not bend at your waist (so in sitting, to try touch your toes) that makes that angle smaller than 90 degrees. You must allow time for the new hip joint to settle in, otherwise you might pop it right out again!! As the man in the video said, most shoe horns also require a twist at the waist. This is also one of the precautions. Do not twist at the waist. If there is something on the bench right behind you, take those few extra steps to not twist your body around. Think about it, that too can pop your new hip right out!! :(

So, here's the next one:


Right, so this one shows the slide or as some might call it, the banana board transfer. As you could see, this just gives that extra support underneath the individual, so that she does not fall, or carry her full weight on her arms as she transfers from her chair to the bed. It is quite a process, especially with limited hand function, but she has learned a technique that works for her and enables her to transfer independently. I have tried using this board before, obviously its different for me, as I was able to use my legs to stabilize when I felt I was losing my balance. It emphasized the importance of having that base underneath you when transferring. Especially as she has no movement/strength or function in her lower limbs.

Next one:

So, this is quite a long clip, but I found it very interesting. This, like he said, is in prevention of pressure sores. Skin breaks down after prolonged periods of sitting/lying still in one position. This cushion relieves that pressure and increases comfort. You can also get large mattresses like these. They're quite cool too :)

So this is quite a neat one as well. It is called the raised toilet seat (RTS). It comes in different heights. This one is 4". So its pretty self explanatory. You attach it to a toilet to raise the seat for those who might have just had a hip replacement and cannot sit down onto surfaces that make their hips go lower than their knees!

Right, this is our last one:
So in this video, we can see a Quadriplegic using a universal cuff. These are so handy for people with decreased hand function. As you can see, this man is able to independently put this cuff onto his hand, and feed himself. I saw something similar to this at placement, where the one patient had rheumatoid arthritis and also had decreased hand function, so we gave her another grip that we slipped over her knife and fork every time she ate, it was a much bigger handle with a funny shape, this allowed her to feed herself independently, which was what she wanted to achieve :)

Right, well that is all from me for now. I just really enjoy learning about all of the different equipment that can help these days. Technology has really come a long way, and its benefitted us in huge ways over the last few years!!

Have a good one!!


YouTube (2012). Cosby 4" raised toilet seat set up demo. Retrieved from

YouTube (2011). Footfunnel shoe horn - a shoe aid (like the sock aid). Retrieved from

YouTube (2011). Quadriplegic slide board transfer. Retrieved from

YouTube (2011). Quadriplegic using a u-cuff. Retrieved from

YouTube (2011). Roho profile series cushion set up and adjustment. Retrieved from

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tutorial Four: Video Production Session

Hello Everyone!

So it's been a while since my last post. might notice that there is no 'Tutorial Three' on my blog. This is because in that tutorial, we had to actually create our blogs. Hence no post for Tutorial Three. Good? Good.

So here we go, again.
In this tutorial we had to plan and produce a one minute long film based on one of four concepts. Occupational justice, occupational disruption, occupational transition, and lastly, occupational deprivation.
My group chose to base our film around occupational deprivation of vertically challanged people.
Have a look:

Occupational deprivation is defined by Ann Wilcock as unequal opportunities to "participate in occupations of choice or in occupations having individual, familial, or cultural meaning" (Wilcock, 1998, p. 305). It is also important to understand that occupational deprivation is caused by external factors, rather than internal. These factors "may be social, economic, environmental, geographic, historic, cultural, or political in nature" (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p. 305).
In this case, occupational deprivation is caused by society's disregard for those who are vertically challenged and are unable to reach high cupboards in public places. This is a barrier recklessly set in place by society that limits a portion of our population to participate in everyday activities.

In creating this film, we went on a hunt for a super tall guy at Wintec. After getting his permission to make a film of him and one of our group members, we drew up plans as to how we would portray to the audience the difficulty that vertically challenged people have in society. We drew up a story board of all the frames to be filmed which made the actual filming very easy as we were all on the same page as to what needed to be done and how we were going to achieve that. After a fun-filled afternoon of playing around with camera's and frames, we had a few minutes worth of film that we had to cut right down to one.
All good fun!

Gotta run, have a good week!!


Christiansen, C. H. & Townsend, E. A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. 

Wilcock, A. A. (1998). An occupational perspective of health. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc. In Christiansen, C. H. & Townsend, E. A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tutorial Two: Occupational Engagement, Doing, Being, Becoming and Belonging.

For this post, I was required to make a PowerPoint on an occupation that I observed while on placement. 

Building Blocks: 
The Occupational Therapist (OT) used this activity to assess a student’s ability to concentrate, follow instructions as well as emulate a shape or pattern. The first set of instructions given to the student were to stack wooden building blocks on top of each other like a tower, the second set of instructions were to copy the patterns built by the OT. The expectation was for the seven year old autistic student to copy the shapes and patterns as well as stack at least twelve blocks on top of each other like a tower. 
Here's my PowerPoint. Enjoy :)
Building blocks is ‘play’ to children. It is what they consider their ‘meaningful occupations.’ Therefore, this activity will be interesting and exciting to the student and their attention and concentration will be maintained for a longer period of time whereas if a different activity were to be chosen that was less meaningful to a seven year old student, it would be more difficult to obtain the information that is necessary.

Through play, children are subconsciously doing, being, becoming and belonging. These concepts play a large role in a child’s developmental stage as they discover their meaningful occupations.
  • “The concept of doing includes purposeful, goal-oriented activities” (Hammell, 2004, p. 301).
  • Being can be defined as “existing, living, nature and essence... Being is about being true to ourselves, to our nature, to our essene, and to what is distinctive about us to bring to others as part of our relationship and to what we do” (Wilcock, 1998, p. 250).
  • Becoming is to visualize the possibilities of the future and explore what one would like to become over the course of a lifetime (Hammel, 2004).
  • Hammell describes the term ‘belonging as a “sense of  being included” (2004, p. 302) and the necessity of mutual support, friendship and social interaction.

Image 2: Young child building a tower

Image 5: Tower built out of wooden blocks

Image 8: Girl building a tower
Image 9: Two kids playing together with building blocks
Image 10: Little kid building a tower
Images 11 - 13: Building a tower as high as possible out of wooden building blocks
Images 14 - 20: Emulating the pattern built by the 'teacher'

In preparing this PowerPoint I had to take into consideration the safety and privacy of the people in these photos.  I had help from a friend who modeled as the student in this scenario. I made sure that I had her permission to make use of her hands for class purposes. I also made an effort to reference the work that I retrieved, whether it was from the internet (photos) or readings. Lastly, I either blurred the  faces  in the photos or made sure they were not recognizable.

There you go, a little bit of a tough tut to get through, but its here!!
Hope it's not too much of a muddle for y'all to read.

Till next tutorial!!
Sally ~


AVOSANT. (n.d.). L.A. hand surgeon. Retrieved from

Counting Blocks. (n.d.). Building blocks. Retrieved from

Dreamstime. (n.d.). Colourful wooden play blocks. Retrieved from

 Hammell, K. W. (2004) Dimensions of meaning in the occupations of daily life. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71 (5), 296 – 305.

Leaping & Learning Tadpoles Childcare Centre. (2011, August 26). Just playing by anita wadley [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Mother’s Book Bag. (n.d.). Pregnancy, babies and parenting – everything for moms. Retrieved from

Photography  by Mark Stevenson. Photos used with permission.

Shutterstock. (n.d.). Preschool boy playing with blocks. Retrieved from

Sophly laughing (sophy “softly” laughing). (2011, December 11). Play it forward. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Wilcock, A. A. (1998). Reflections on doing, being, becoming. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 248 – 256.

Worn through: apparel from an academic perspective. (2011, April 1). Teaching fashion: Getting them to read [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tutorial One: Information Technology and Ethical Issues

This is my very first official post! **Whoot** 

Throughout this course, I will be posting all of my weekly tutorial content on my blog as part of my assignment and for those of you who just want to have a read.

Here goes!!

So in this post, I will be discussing Information Technology and Ethical Issues.
According to the American Heritage Science Dictionary, Information Technology, or I.T., is the "technology involved in the transmission and storage of information, especially the development, installation, implementation and management of computer systems within companies, universities and other organizations" (, n.d., para. 2). Mhhh, for those of you who still don't know what IT simple terms, I'd explain it as the communication of information using technology, whether it is using computers, iPads, iPods, iWhatevers! There is more to I.T. than just fooling around on an iPad, as the definition above states, it is the “development and management” of it too. So, I figure I.T. users include technology fixer uppers as well as those who use technology for other purposes such as work or play.
Here is a slightly cheesy video clip I found on YouTube that explains pretty well what I.T. is. Have a listen, disregard the last sentence or two… :)

Technology has become so huge in our society today; it is almost strange to see a teenager without a cell phone or iPod as they walk to school. This is the century of technology and we are becoming more and more dependent on technology to do the simple things in life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving being able to look up a definition or a photo or whatever in the space of a few seconds using my laptop. And I’m loving being able to transfer money from my savings account to my everyday account using my phone! *Eeeek* But has this made us all lazy…? Mhh, I think this opens a-whole-nother can of worms. I’ll save that for another day! 

Watch this video, it is 7 minutes long, but I managed to sit through it and thought it was rather good.

It starts of saying “I teach, show, know, play with, suit, remind, accompany, entertain, speak to, make money for, connect, love and kill you. Who am I? I am Technology!” This is so true! We go through our everyday lives without realising that technology goes with us wherever we are! Even while we’re casually cruising at 39000 feet in a cozy plane eating peanuts! We’re still connected!! -_- This is crazy! But good, right? We all love technology. Yes, we often get frustrated as it doesn’t do what it is meant to, or what we want it to do, but I’m sure there are very very few people that would rather live without technology and find life easier that way. All I know is that I sure don’t! Thank goodness that the days of sending telegrams are gone! Here, today we send an email in the morning and can have a reply by that same afternoon. How good is that!?! Like the video said, it was mans curiosity that started all of this. And statistics show that technology will continue to develop until there are computers that exceed the “computational abilities of the human race” (YouTube, 2009). OH MY GOODNESS!! Does this not freak you out a little?!?! It sure gets me thinking…When will humans stop being so nosy!! Okay, this is also a whole different conversation that I quite simply refuse to get into at the moment! :)

Righty, on a slightly different note…I own a laptop, an iPod, iPod dock, a touch screen cell phone, as well as a GPS. I can think of many other things that involve technology that I own, but this is enough for the point I’m aiming to make here. Bare with me, it usually takes me a while to get to my point as I always get sidetracked!
I feel comfortable using all of these forms of technology, sure it took some learning and manual reading (which is normally the last resort!!) but I consider myself I.T. able… Mhh…loving how that doesn’t make sense. But I’m sure you understand. :) I took typing lessons at school, so am pretty speedy at that. The internet doesn’t faze me either, I know where to find what I need and have learned how to upload, download and any other kind of ‘load’ there is. This comes in very handy as most of my OT course is online, so it forces me to use I.T. every day. Its not all rainbows and jelly beans though!! When it comes to fixing a computer or any form of technology, I take it to my brother! Lucky for me he knows these things back to front and inside out, so I don’t waste $$$ every time I break something!! :) (I manage to do that without trying!!)
I find I.T. extremely useful when it comes to engaging in what I see as my meaningful occupation. I love art and creating things from nothing. So I tend to use the internet for ideas and new methods, but I also use Photoshop. I’m sure most of you have heard of it. It’s a fun program that allows you to edit and create and go crazy with photos and suchness. It’s awesome; I love it, and would hate to make do without!!

So, I.T. in OT aye? “What is that?” you may ask. "How is Information Technology used in Occupational Therapy? Last year, I was placed in a ‘special’ school. At this school the class had a special touch screen computer with all sorts of interactive games. This allows the OT to test reflex skills as well as hand eye co ordination and ability to follow instructions. I found this very interesting, I had never seen something as interactive as this on a computer, but the children loved it and I was able to learn a lot about a child by watching them play these games on the computer. There are, of course heaps of different ways to incorporate I.T. into OT, but I have yet to experience such encounters. :) At my other placement, I was told by my OT supervisor that  at her previous job, all the clients notes and files and all that were done on the computer! This means there are no giant files falling apart, you quite simply press a button, and BAM!!! You have the history of old Mr. Smith without having to lift a finger!! I.T. does make things easier in the workplace, but with any good thing, there have to be some negatives, I suppose. One negative could be that if something were to happen to our computer systems, that all those client files would be lost in an instant. Unless there are adequate backups, you're pretty much dead (for lack of a better word). That's something to think about, I suppose! Another good use for I.T. in OT is that if a client presents with a disease that you have never come across before, there is always the trusty Google!! 

As I stated before, we live in the era of technology. There is constantly something new in the shops. You'll never have the newest of anything as it is constantly updated! This means that us as OT's must have a good understanding of I.T. and the benefits it has for us in the workplace and the interventions that we use with clients. We need to take into account that in a few years, everything will be 'I.T.' The way that we do everything will be influenced, even more than it is now, by I.T. and we must be prepared for the changes that that will bring.

So lastly, there are always ethical issues involved in the capturing, sharing and transferring of information via I.T. devices and we need to be aware of privacy and plagiarism. It's a simple matter of courtesy to those in the photos, or those whose work you are using. Asking permission before using material, whether it be photos or written work or ideas. One must then acknowledge that you retrieved that information from another source and not claim it as your own.

Till next tutorial!
Have a great week!

 Here are the references of the material that I used.

References: (n.d.). Information technology. Retrieved from

YouTube. (2011, May 20) Information technology: have you heard about it? Retrieved from

YouTube. (2009, May 12). Evolution of technology. Retrieved from

Tuesday, 6 March 2012